Margrethe II of Denmark

For other people with the same name, see Margaret of Denmark (disambiguation).
Margrethe II

Queen Margrethe II in May 2012
Queen of Denmark (more...)
Reign 14 January 1972 – present
Predecessor Frederik IX
Heir apparent Crown Prince Frederik
Prime Ministers
Born (1940-04-16) 16 April 1940
Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark
Spouse Henri de Laborde de Monpezat (m. 1967)
Crown Prince Frederik
Prince Joachim
Full name
Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid
House Glücksburg[1]
Father Frederik IX of Denmark
Mother Ingrid of Sweden
Religion Church of Denmark

Margrethe II (Danish: Margrethe 2.; Faroese: Margreta 2.; Greenlandic: Margrethe II) (Danish pronunciation: [mɑˈɡ̊ʁæːˀd̥ə], full name: Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid; born 16 April 1940) is the Queen of Denmark. She is also the supreme authority of the Church of Denmark and Commander-in-Chief of the Danish Defence Forces.

Born into the House of Glücksburg, a royal house with origins in Northern Germany, she was the eldest child of Frederick IX of Denmark and Ingrid of Sweden. She succeeded her father upon his death on 14 January 1972, having had become heir presumptive to her father in 1953, when a constitutional amendment allowed women to inherit the throne. On her accession, Margrethe became the first female monarch of Denmark since Margaret I, ruler of the Scandinavian countries in 1375–1412 during the Kalmar Union.

Having been on the Danish throne for 44 years, she is currently the second longest-reigning Danish monarch after her ancestor Christian IV. She is also the longest-reigning of the three current Scandinavian monarchs, as Sweden's Carl XVI Gustaf has reigned since 1973 and Norway's Harald V has reigned since 1991.

In 1967, she married Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, with whom she has two sons: Crown Prince Frederik (born 1968) and Prince Joachim (born 1969).

Early life

Princess Margrethe's birthplace: Frederik VIII's Palace at Amalienborg, photographed in 2006

Princess Margrethe was born 16 April 1940 at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen as the first child of Crown Prince Frederick, later King Frederick IX and Crown Princess Ingrid, later Queen Ingrid. Her father was the eldest son of the then-reigning King Christian X, while her mother was the only daughter of Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, later King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, and Crown Princess Margaret, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Her birth took place just one week after Nazi Germany's invasion of Denmark on 9 April 1940.[2]

She was baptised on 14 May in the Church of Holmen in Copenhagen.[2] The Princess's godparents were: King Christian X (paternal grandfather); Hereditary Prince Knud (paternal uncle); Prince Axel (her paternal grandfather's first cousin); King Gustaf V of Sweden (maternal great-grandfather); Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden (maternal grandfather); Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten (her maternal uncle); Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (maternal grandmother's father).

She was named Margrethe after her late maternal grandmother, Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden, Alexandrine after her paternal grandmother, Queen Alexandrine, and Ingrid after her mother, Crown Princess Ingrid. Since her paternal grandfather was also the King of Iceland, she was given an Icelandic name, Þórhildur (Thorhildur).

When Margrethe was four years old, in 1944, her first sister, Princess Benedikte, was born. Princess Benedikte later married Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and lives some of the time in Germany. Her second sister Princess Anne Marie was born in 1946. Anne-Marie later married Constantine II of Greece and now lives in Greece.

Margrethe and her sisters grew up in apartments at Frederick VIII's Palace at Amalienborg in Copenhagen and in Fredensborg Palace in North Zealand. She spent summer holidays with the royal family in her parent's summer residence at Gråsten Palace in Southern Jutland. On 20 April 1947, King Christian X died and Margrethe's father ascended the throne as King Frederick IX.

Heir presumptive

Princess Margrethe in 1966.

At the time of her birth, only males could ascend the throne of Denmark, owing to the changes in succession laws enacted in the 1850s when the Glücksburg branch was chosen to succeed. As she had no brothers, it was assumed that her uncle Prince Knud would one day assume the throne.

The process of changing the constitution started in 1947, not long after her father ascended the throne and it became clear that Queen Ingrid would have no more children. The popularity of Frederick and his daughters and the more prominent role of women in Danish life started the complicated process of altering the constitution. The law required that the proposal be passed by two successive Parliaments and then by a referendum, which occurred 27 March 1953. The new Act of Succession permitted female succession to the throne of Denmark, according to male-preference cognatic primogeniture, where a female can ascend to the throne only if she does not have a brother. Princess Margrethe therefore became heir presumptive.[2]

On her eighteenth birthday, 16 April 1958, Margrethe was given a seat in the Council of State. She subsequently chaired the meetings of the Council in the absence of the King.[2]

In 1960, together with the princesses of Sweden and Norway, she travelled to the United States, which included a visit to Los Angeles, and to the Paramount Studios, where they were met by several celebrities, including Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Elvis Presley.[3]


Margrethe was educated at the private school N. Zahle's School in Copenhagen from which she graduated in 1959. She spent a year at North Foreland Lodge, a boarding school for girls in Hampshire, England,[4] and later studied prehistoric archaeology at Girton College, Cambridge, during 1960–1961, political science at Aarhus University between 1961 and 1962, attended the Sorbonne in 1963, and was at the London School of Economics in 1965.[5] She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.[2]

Queen Margrethe is fluent in Danish, French, English, Swedish and German, and has a limited knowledge of Faroese.[2][5]


Queen Margrethe II and her consort, Prince Henrik, in 2010.

Princess Margrethe married a French diplomat, Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, 10 June 1967, at the Church of Holmen in Copenhagen. Laborde de Monpezat received the style and title of "His Royal Highness Prince Henrik of Denmark" because of his new position as the spouse of the heir presumptive to the Danish throne.[2]

Margrethe gave birth to her first child 26 May 1968. By tradition, Danish kings were alternately named either Frederick or Christian. She chose to maintain this by assuming the position of a Christian, and thus named her eldest son Frederik. A second child, named Joachim, was born 7 June 1969.[2]


Margrethe II of Denmark in a costume of the Faroese people. Stamp FR 302 of Postverk Føroya, Faroe Islands, issued 14 January 1997.


Shortly after King Frederick IX had delivered his New Year's Address to the Nation at the 1971/72 turn of the year, he fell ill. At his death 14 days later, 14 January 1972, Margrethe succeeded to the throne, becoming the first female Danish sovereign under the new Act of Succession. She was proclaimed Queen from the balcony of Christiansborg Palace 15 January 1972, by Prime Minister Jens Otto Krag. Queen Margrethe II relinquished all the monarch's former titles except the title to Denmark, hence her style "By the Grace of God, Queen of Denmark" (Danish: Margrethe den Anden, af Guds Nåde Danmarks Dronning). The Queen chose the motto: God's help, the love of The People, Denmark's strength.[5]

In her first address to the people, Queen Margrethe II said:

My beloved father, our King, is dead. The task that my father had carried for nearly 25 years is now resting on my shoulders. I pray to God to give me help and strength to carry the heavy heritage. May the trust that was given to my father also be granted to me.[6]

Constitutional role

The Queen's main tasks are to represent the Kingdom abroad and to be a unifying figure at home. She receives foreign ambassadors and awards honours and medals. The Queen performs the latter task by accepting invitations to open exhibitions, attending anniversaries, inaugurating bridges, etc.

As an unelected public official, the Queen takes no part in party politics and does not express any political opinions. Although she has the right to vote, she opts not to do so to avoid even the appearance of partisanship.[2]

After an election where the incumbent Prime Minister does not have a majority behind him or her, the Queen holds a “Dronningerunde” (Queen's meeting) in which she meets the chairmen of each of the Danish political parties.[7]

Each party has the choice of selecting a Royal Investigator to lead these negotiations or alternatively, give the incumbent Prime Minister the mandate to continue his government as is. In theory each party could choose its own leader as Royal Investigator, the social liberal Det Radikale Venstre did so in 2006, but often only one Royal Investigator is chosen plus the Prime Minister, before each election. The leader who, at that meeting succeeds in securing a majority of the seats in the Folketing, is by royal decree charged with the task of forming a new government. (It has never happened in more modern history that any party has held a majority on its own.)

Once the government has been formed, it is formally appointed by the Queen. Officially, it is the Queen who is the head of government, and she therefore presides over the Council of State (privy council), where the acts of legislation which have been passed by the parliament are signed into law. In practice, however, nearly all of the Queen's formal powers are exercised by the Cabinet of Denmark.

In addition to her roles in her own country, the Queen is also the Colonel-in-Chief of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires), an infantry regiment of the British Army, following a tradition in her family.[2]

Ruby Jubilee

Queen Margrethe II celebrated her Ruby Jubilee, the 40th year on the throne, 14 January 2012.[8] This was marked by a carriage procession, a gala banquet at Christiansborg Palace and numerous TV interviews.

Immigration debate

In 2016 an interview within the book De dybeste rødder (en: The Deepest Roots) she showed, according to historians at Saxo instittutet, a change in attitude to immigration towards a more restrictive stance. She stated that the Danish people should have more explicitly clarified the rules and values of Danish culture in order to be able to teach them to new arrivals. Further stated that the Danes in general have underestimated the difficulties involved in successful integration of immigrants, exemplified with the rules of a democracy not being clarified to Muslim immigrants and a lack of readiness to enforce those rules. This was received as a change in line with the attitude of the Danish people.[9][10]

Personal life and interests

The official residences of the Queen and the Prince Consort are Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen and Fredensborg Palace. Their summer residence is Gråsten Palace near Sønderborg, the former home of the Queen's mother, Queen Ingrid, who died in 2000.

Margrethe is an accomplished painter, and has held many art shows over the years. Her illustrations—under the pseudonym Ingahild Grathmer—were used for the Danish edition of The Lord of the Rings, which she was encouraged to illustrate in the early 1970s. She sent them to J. R. R. Tolkien who was struck by the similarity of her drawings to his own style. Margrethe's drawings were redrawn by the British artist Eric Fraser in the translation published in 1977 and re-issued in 2002. In 2000, she illustrated Henrik, the Prince Consort's poetry collection Cantabile. She is also an accomplished translator and is said to have participated in the Danish translation of The Lord of the Rings.[5] Another skill she possesses is costume designing, having designed the costumes for the Royal Danish Ballet's production of A Folk Tale and for the 2009 Peter Flinth film, De vilde svaner (The Wild Swans).[2][11] She also designs her own clothes and is known for her colourful and sometimes eccentric clothing choices. Margrethe also wears designs by former Pierre Balmain designer Erik Mortensen, Jørgen Bender, and Birgitte Taulow.[12] The Guardian in March 2013 listed her as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s.[13]

Margrethe is a chain smoker, and she is famous for her tobacco habit.[14] However, on 23 November 2006, the Danish newspaper B.T. reported an announcement from the Royal Court stating that in future the Queen would smoke only in private.[15]

A statement in a 2005 authorized biography about the Queen (entitled Margrethe) focused on her views of Islam: "We are being challenged by Islam these years. Globally as well as locally. There is something impressive about people for whom religion imbues their existence, from dusk to dawn, from cradle to grave. There are also Christians who feel this way. There is something endearing about people who give themselves up completely to their faith. But there is likewise something frightening about such a totality, which also is a feature of Islam. A counterbalance has to be found, and one has to, at times, run the risk of having unflattering labels placed on you. For there are some things for which one should display no tolerance. And when we are tolerant, we must know whether it is because of convenience or conviction."[16]

Queen Margrethe II visited the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, in Nanjing, April 27, 2014. The Queen said the Memorial Hall records the darkest part of history in 77 years. "We cannot change the cruel history, but can learn a historic lesson and experience from it. Today, we commemorate Sindberg. We need not only to review the past, but also need to face up to the future," she said. Margrethe II and Prince Henrik watered a tree symbolizing peace, on the square outside the Memorial Hall. They also laid down a yellow rose, named by Sindberg’s hometown as "Forever Nanjing, Sindberg Yellow Rose" in 2004.


Main article: Danish Royal Family
Her Majesty surrounded by her family waving to crowds on her 70th birthday in April 2010. From left to right: the Crown Princess, Prince Felix, the Crown Prince, Prince Christian, the Queen, Prince Nikolai, Prince Consort Henrik, Prince Joachim and Princess Isabella

The Queen and Prince Consort have two sons and eight grandchildren:

In 2008, the Queen announced that her male-line descendants would bear the additional title of Count or Countess of Monpezat, in recognition of her husband's ancestry.[17]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Queen Margrethe II in Vágur, Faroe Islands, 21 June 2005
Queen Margrethe II and her husband the Prince Consort welcome President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush at Fredensborg Palace, 5 July 2005.



She is the 1,188th knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain, and only the 7th Lady of the Order of the Garter since 1901, when King Edward VII appointed his consort a member. She is also Colonel-in-Chief of the The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires) in the United Kingdom.[19]

Queen Margrethe II Land in Northeast Greenland was named in her honour on 16 April 1990 on the occasion of her 50th birthday.[20]

See also: List of honours of the Danish Royal Family by country

National honours

Foreign honours

Symbols of Margrethe II


Patrilineal descent

See also


  1. "150 years of the House of Glücksborg". Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II". Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  3. "Elvis Presley with Princesses Margrethe of Denmark, Astrid of Norway, and Margaretha of Sweden". 7 June 1960. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  4. "Princess Margrethe, who is fifteen and is heir presumptive to the Danish throne, is to study for a year in England at North Foreland Lodge, a girls' boarding school near Basingstoke, in Hampshire...". The Illustrated London News. 227 (2). 1955. p. 552.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Margrethe and Henrik Biography". 16 April 1940. Archived from the original on 30 October 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  6. "Queen Margrethe II of Denmark 40 years on the Throne". Radical Royalist. 13 January 2012. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  7. "The Monarchy today". Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  8. "Queen Margrethe II of Denmark marks 40 years on the throne". BBC News. 12 January 2012.
  9. "Historiker om Margrethes danskheds-udtalelse: - Hun har fulgt folkesjælens bekymringer". TV2 (Denmark). 23 October 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  10. "Dronning Margrethe om integration: »Det er ikke en naturlov, at man bliver dansker af at bo i Danmark«". Berlingske Tidende. 22 October 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  11. "De vilde svaner (2009)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  12. "Flashback Friday: Queen Margrethe's Styl". The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor. 13 January 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  13. Cartner-Morley, Jess; Mirren, Helen; Huffington, Arianna; Amos, Valerie (28 March 2013). "The 50 best-dressed over 50s". The Guardian. Manchester.
  14. Isherwood, Julian (23 March 2001). "Danish royals angry at cancer accusation". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  15. Margrethe skruer ned for røgen at the Wayback Machine (archived 16 October 2007). 26 November 2006
  16. Cleaver, Hannah (15 April 2005). "We need a counter-balance to Islam, says Danish queen". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  17. "Monpezat til Frederik og Joachim" [Monpezat for Frederik and Joachim]. Berlingske Tidende. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  18. Gyldendal, Den Store Danske, The Danish title is "Tronfølgeren" which in lack of a more precise English term is translated to "The Heir Presumptive of the Kingdom of Denmark"
  19. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 54745. p. 4766. 21 April 1997.
  20. "Catalogue of place names in northern East Greenland" (PDF). Geological Survey of Denmark. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  21. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68, page with Margrethes national honours
  22. 1 2 3 4, Margrethe wearing national honours
  23. 1 2 3 4, Margrethe wearing national orders
  24. 1 2 3, Margrethe wearing order of the elephant and other honours
  25. 1 2, Margrethe wearing the grand stars of the order of the elephant and Dannebrog with elephant sash
  27. 1 2 3 4, Margrethe wearing Danish and Swedish Orders insignia
  29. 1 2, Margrethe wearing the Royal family order and Dannebrog cross
  30. lotte. "Danish Royal Watchers". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  31. "Bundeskanzler Anfragebeantwortung An die Präsidentin des Nationalrats" [Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour] (PDF) (in German). p. 168. Retrieved November 2012. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  32. King Hamad hands the insignia to Queen Margrethe in exchnage of the Order of the Dannebrog
  34. KELD NAVNTOFT. "Georgi Parvanov". Getty Images. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  39. Margrethe wearing the Greek order of the former Royal family at the republican state visit of Greece to Denmark
  40. "Fálkaorðuhafar" [Holders of the Commander's Cross]. The President of Iceland. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  44. "Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik's State Visit to Japan: November 15-22, 2004 - The Royal Forums". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  45. Julian Parker. "Empress Michiko". Getty Images. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  46. "Apdovanojimai" [Awards Database]. President of the Republic of Lithuania. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  48. "ACUERDO por el que se otorga a Su Majestad Margrethe II Reina de Dinamarca, la Condecoración de la Orden Mexicana del Aguila Azteca en el grado de Collar" [AGREEMENT that the Collar of the Order of the Aztec Eagle is awarded to Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark]. Secretariat of the Interior. 13 February 2008. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  49. "Staatsbezoek Denemarken 2015 twee koninginnen. - Koninklijke Familie/Royal Family/ Famille Royal - Pinterest - Denmark, Dutch and US states". Pinterest. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  50. "Dutch State Visit to Denmark". Benelux Royal Jewels. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 2015-08-26.
  51. "Dutch State visit to Denmark - Gala Dinner at Christiansborg Palace". New My Royals. 17 March 2015.
  56. "Tildeling av Kong Harald Vs jubileumsmedalje 1991-2016". Kongehuset (in Norwegian). Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  58. "Kronprinsen Frederik". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  63. "Photo of the Danish Royal couple with the Slovakian Presidential couple".
  64. "REAL DECRETO 1948/1985. de 23 de octubre. por el Que se concede el Collar de la Insigne Orden del Toisón de Oro a Su Majestad Margarita ll, Reina de Dinamarca" [Her Majesty Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark is awarded the Collar of the Illustrious Order of the Golden Fleece] (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado. 24 October 1985. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  65. "REAL DECRETO 738/1980, de 15 de marzo, por el que se concede el Collar de la Real y Muy Distinguida Orden de Carlos Ill a Su Majestad Margarita ll, Reina de Dinamarca" [Royal Decree 738/1980 of 15 March, granting the Collar of the Royal and Most Distinguished Order of Carlos III Margarita ll to Her Majesty, Queen of Denmark] (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado. 24 April 1980. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  66. "The Floral Tiara". At The Spanish Court. 5 May 2013.
  68. Archived 17 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  69. "Image not available". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  70. "70th anniversary of king Carl Gustav of Sweden in Stockholm Sweden on... Fotografía de noticias 115116367 | Getty Images". 2016-05-02. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  74. "Dîner de gala au Palais de Fredensborg" [Gala dinner at Fredensborg Palace]. Noblesse et Royautes. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  75. Julian Parker. "Queen Margrethe II of Denmark". Getty Images. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  78. Keystone. "Gallery". Getty Images. Retrieved 7 April 2016.


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Margrethe II
Born: 16 April 1940
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Frederik IX
Queen of Denmark
Heir apparent:
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